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Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

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Anon Mhkv 29III

Roberta Frank (ed.) 2017, ‘Anonymous Poems, Málsháttakvæði 29’ in Kari Ellen Gade and Edith Marold (eds), Poetry from Treatises on Poetics. Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages 3. Turnhout: Brepols, p. 1242.

Anonymous PoemsMálsháttakvæði

text and translation

Orða er leitat mér í munn;
mælgin verðr oss heyrinkunn;
Yggjar bjór hverr eiga myni,
ósýnt þykkir lýða kyni.
Eyvit mun sjá atfrétt stoða;
allmjǫk erum vér lynd til hroða;
þeygi var sjá aflausn ill;
eiga skal nú hverr, er vill.

Er leitat orða í munn mér; mælgin verðr oss heyrinkunn; hverr myni eiga {bjór Yggjar}, þykkir ósýnt {kyni lýða}. Eyvit mun sjá atfrétt stoða; allmjǫk erum vér lynd til hroða; þeygi var sjá aflausn ill; nú skal eiga hverr, er vill.
‘They seek in my mouth for words; the chatter is well known to us [me]; who might possess the strong drink of Yggr <= Óðinn> [POETRY] seems unclear to the race of men [HUMANS]. That inquiry will not at all help; we are very much inclined to coarseness; this release was not at all bad; now anyone who wants it shall have it.

notes and context

This stanza seems to shift registers, as the elevated, poetic words in the first helmingr are succeeded by down-to-earth and even vulgar ones in the second.



Text is based on reconstruction from the base text and variant apparatus and may contain alternative spellings and other normalisations not visible in the manuscript text. Transcriptions may not have been checked and should not be cited.

editions and texts

Skj: Anonyme digte og vers [XIII], A. [1]. Málsháttakvæði 29: AII, 136, BII, 145, Skald II, 78; Möbius 1874, 12, Wisén 1886-9, I, 76.


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